Based on past messages (prior to my joining the group), I know that there are some bourbonites that also enjoy a good vintage port. (I never had a bad vintage port). Although I like bourbon, I would like a great vintage port as my last beverage.
I have a number of mature vintage ports from various shippers. I plan to travel to the Sampler in April and if anyone is interested in possibly trading bourbon for vintage port let me know.
Along those lines - can anybody suggest some particularly good ports? My wife likes port, and we buy some periodically, but I don't really know what I'm getting. A few years back I carried a bottle home with me from Australia, and she says nothing since has quite matched up. On a good evening, after the kids are in bed, we like to pour a glass of our favorite respective beverages (bourbon and port) and have an actual discussion without interuption (emphasis here on "after the kids are in bed...").
some good ports
check out this article on ports
this is the online page
here is the actual PDF of the article in the magazine
Well, the Aussie 'stickies' may be a little sweeter than many true ports, but look for Yalumba's Museum or Antique Tawny dessert ports. They should run around $20 for 500ml. Bet you'd like the R.L. Buller & Son Tokay Victoria, too ($14-$16 for 375ml).
Many late bottled vintage (LBV) ports from Portugal dated 1994 and 1997 -- you'll even find some from 2000, most likely -- are drinking well and need a good home soon. I've seen Dow half-bottles in the $14-$16 range.
A few years ago, I tried few Australian ports and did not like them as much as those from Portugal. Since that time. I'm sure that there are many more to choose from and they most likely got better. Selecting a port is somewhat like selecting a bourbon. It depends on your mood. Sometimes I like a ruby port such as Cockburn. They tend to be very dark, fruity, and with noticable alcohol. Other times I am in the mood for a nice 10-year old tawny port such as Taylor Fladgate. Due to their age they are lighter, somewhat brown, and have the taste of raisins. Occasionally, I will drink a late-bottled vintage port; however, the best port is a vintage port. It should be at least 15 preferably 20 years old before drinking. The taste is outstanding. It is very fruity, the alcohol is fully resolved, and the flavors remain on the palate for quite some time.
Unfortunately, purchasing a 15-20 year old vintage port is quite costly. A good late-bottled vintage port is good second choice. However, if you and your wife have the opportunity to taste a freshly opened bottle of a 15-20 year vintage port, I am sure that you will love it. Vintage port as well as late-bottled vintage port must be decanted or filtered and once opened, they change over time. After 2 days in a decanter, the taste changes. That can be the danger of ordering a glass of vintage or late-bottled vintage port in a restaurant.
I'm new to ports, but have tried some of the vintage and nv selections from Dow, Taylor Fladgate, Fonseca , Graham, Sanderman, etc.
Tonight I tried my first Aussie," Jonesy,Old Tawny Port", by Trevor Jones, and although it may not be the " real thing", it will probably be my choice when I go to this type of drink. For $12.00, I think it's incredible.
I find it interesting that you have tried vintage port and seem to prefer an Australian tawny port. Is that true or do you feel that vintage port is simply not worth the high price? I like tawny port; however, in my opinion, it does not come close to the incredible taste and complexity of vintage port.
As I said, I'm new to ports, so my taste, appreciation and knowledge for it has not really developed to a point that I can justify $100.00+ for a vintage port, especially when many of the NVs and Aussies score high in various publications. I can be content, for the time being, with the Jonesy for $12 or the NV Taylor Fladgate ,Tawny 10 yr. for $24
Bourbon and wine consume most of my booze dollars so I need to stay on the cheap side of port.
I'm no expert, but I believe most vintage port is tawney, which simply means that the port has been aged in barrels for a length of time. That as opposed to ruby port which has spent no time in wood. Please correct me if I'm mistaken.
Jeff, I was about to comment on the other posts and first would say (I am sure Jake Parrot will correct me if I am wrong) that vintage port in fact does not receive very much barrel age before bottling. It may receive some, but the object is not to impart a tannic or other barrel effect to it. The idea is to bottle it young and fresh and subject it to the oxidation effects of many years of bottle age. In fact when a bottle is opened even after 20 years or so, the port is ruby red (in my experience). If it does become brown (as some red wines do) this is due to extended bottle maturation not from early oak aging. Late bottled vintage is an attempt to mimic the long bottling age of genuine vintage port. It is an excellent value but according to experts does not offer quite the same palate. I believe tawny ports do experience even longer barrel aging precisely to impart a particular oxidation effect (the raisiny taste, of course this is done in a controlled fashion), so your 20 year old Dow tawny say will have been aged 20 years in barrel, but that is why it is "tawny". I must say I have not seen really what the fuss is about vintage port. I have had 15-20 year old examples from decent houses (Warre's, Dow, Graham). I don't find them all that different from a good ruby port. I am far from being an expert though and accept the testimony of those with long experience, maybe I haven't had the right ones, or vintage ports that are old enough. I do admire greatly the tawnies: a 20 or 30 year old tawny port can be a real treat. And I like late-bottled vintage perhaps precisely because of the barrel age on the product. I just bought a bottle of Warre's 1995 Late Bottled Vintage Port. It has 20% ABV and the label says it received 4 years oak aging before bottling without fining or any other filtration. Further, it is given 4 years more aging in the Warre cellars, so 8 in total, half in oak. The label says that the additional 4 years in bottle give it its special character. So you can see that this is a kind of an accelerated version of regular vintage port: in the regular one, there is no or little oak aging but a very long bottle aging (for maximum taste and quality). But you have to wait the 15-30 years or more. With late bottled vintage, the first 4 years in oak give a head start to the aging and it is finsihed off (for this Warre one) by 4 years in the bottle. Not quite like cycling in bourbon, but the same general idea, to mimic what would take brute nature and time much longer to do.. I'll post taste notes on this bottle soon.